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      Sanctions are an Act of War!
      Vancouverites Rally for U.S./Canada Hands Off Venezuela!

      By Alison Bodine

      Through brutal sanctions, threats of military invasion, and funding and support for Venezuela’s violent counter-revolutionary opposition, the U.S. and their allies are continuing to escalate their negative campaign to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro and reverse the gains of the Bolivarian revolutionary process.

      The question of a U.S. invasion and war is much more than just a threat, the illegal sanctions leveled against Venezuela are already an act of war against the people of Venezuela. These sanctions are preventing the import of vital foods and medicines, while at the same time cutting Venezuela off from receiving payments for their exports and limiting their access to financing and foreign currency. Without income, the Venezuelan government cannot buy the goods that the people of Venezuela need. The U.S., Canada and European Union sanctions are an attempt to make the people of Venezuela suffer until they bring “regime change” in Venezuela.

      As people living in Canada and the United States, we have the responsibility to call for an end to the meddling of imperialist governments in the internal affairs of Venezuela and to organize in defense of their sovereignty and self-determination.

      Since December of 2015 the Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice Venezuela Solidarity Campaign has been organizing monthly picket actions at the U.S. Consulate in downtown Vancouver. These dynamic actions demand “U.S./Canada Hands Off Venezuela!” and” End the Sanctions on Venezuela!” – right on the doorstep of U.S. imperialism. Each time, the protest action is followed by an information table and petitioning at the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza.

      This month’s actions were held on Friday, July 13. Protestors gathered on a sunny afternoon, raising their voices high and clear “Hey Trump! We Say No! The Sanctions Have Got to Go!” Between rounds of picketing – with Venezuelan flags and signs held high – speakers shared information about the U.S. campaign against Venezuela and appealed to people passing by to join.

      After the picketing, participants moved up to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Here the action was focused on handing out information to combat the lies and manipulations of the governments of the U.S. and Canada, and major media against Venezuela. Passers-by were encouraged to sign a petition to the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, demanding that Canada end their sanctions and threats against Venezuela immediately.

      Earlier in the month, on July 5, the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign also supported an event organized by the Hugo Chavez People’s Defense Front – Southwest Chapter in recognition of the Venezuela’s Declaration of Independence from Spain in 1811. This event featured powerful words by the Second Consul at the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Vancouver, Tatiana Vizcaya, who drew important connections between the independence struggle from Spain, and the one that the Bolivarian revolutionary process in Venezuela and people across Latin America continue to wage today against U.S. imperialism.

      It is only through consistent, united and coordinated actions that we can end the vicious campaign of sanctions, threats and intervention by the governments of U.S. and Canada against the people of Venezuela and their democratically elected government.

      To find out about Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice Venezuela Solidarity Campaign events and to get involved visit www.firethistime.net or follow on Facebook and Twitter @FTT_np

      Follow Alison on Twitter: @Alisoncolette

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